Friday, September 02, 2011

Oops! Apple Loses a Phone Again

Hard to believe, but another Apple employee appears to have lost another prototype iPhone in another bar. After that technology/companies/20apple.html">happened last year, you would have thought the notoriously secretive Apple would start chaining its new devices to its employees’ wrists. Or at least directed them to do all their drinking at the office.

Apparently not. The current case is still murky but according to CNet, which broke the story, a version of what may be the forthcoming iPhone 5 disappeared from the San Francisco tequila lounge Cava22 in July. Apple investigators then apparently traced the phone to a nearby house.

SF Weekly tracked down a 22-year-old man living there named Sergio Calderon who said he was visited by six people, four men and two women, all wearing badges and representing themselves as San Francisco police officers.

Mr. Calderon told the Weekly he had visited the bar over the previous weekend but had not found a phone there. He gave the police permission to search the house, his car and his computer for any physical or electronic evidence. They failed to find the phone, despite offering him $300 for it — ostensibly a reward from the purported owner. One member of the squad gave Mr. Calderon his card. When SF Weekly called the number, they got an Apple security official.

Apple declined to comment on whether its employees were impersonating police officers. A San Francisco police spokesman declined to return multiple phone calls Friday afternoon. SF Weekly updated its story to say that police “did assist Apple security with the home search,” which implies that Apple security has the ability to search homes on its own. Attempts to contact Mr. Calderon were unsuccessful.

In last year’s incident, the men who found the phone sold it to the tech blog Gizmodo for $5,000, and the blog then spilled the details about the phone’s new features. Misdemeanor criminal charges were filed against the two men. Maybe the iPhone 6 will come with a feature that allows Apple to detonate it remotely so this never happens again.

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